How to care for an Orange Tree
Orange plants and other citrus plants can make a beautiful houseplant for your home. They bring brilliant colour and scent to your home, with the flowers and fruit they produce. As long as the basic factors are met, caring for a citrus plant is relatively easily. Follow our top tips on caring for a citrus plant to produce a healthy plant with some healthy fruit.
TEMPERATURE, LIGHT AND HUMIDITY
Citrus plants are good to grow as a houseplant because they thrive in the stable warmth that is provided indoors. Citrus plants grow best with temperatures at 18°C during the day, and between 5°C and 10°C at night. In summer, these houseplants can be moved outdoors once the risk of frost has passed. However, as soon as it becomes cold they need to be moved indoors. Also, some citrus plants are more fragile than others. For example, lemon trees can tolerate temperatures down to 5°C, whereas limes can only tolerate temperatures down to 10°C and Calamondin oranges only 13°C. Depending on the type of citrus plant, determine when or if you should move it outdoors in the summer, based on this information.
Light is also very important for citrus plants. For the best growing citrus plant, the plant needs at least 5 to 6 hours a day of direct sunlight. Try placing your plant on a south-facing window sill as this seems to provide the right amount of light.
Citrus plants like quite humid environments. Try to place the plant in a room which is naturally humid, such as a bathroom or kitchen. You can also place the plant on pebble trays and mist the leaves as this helps to raise the humidity. Misting the leaves helps keep them cool and encourages pollination of flowers.
Citrus plants require a very similar watering regime as any other houseplant. In the winter, allow the soil to dry out between waterings, as they do not like overwatering. However, in the summer, they need to be watered more regularly, possibly once or twice a week. Ideally water with rainwater if available.
Citrus plants are hungry plants and need regular feeding during the growing season (spring and summer). In this growing period it is best to feed the plants every second watering. They should be fed with a high potassium feed to produce good fruit. We advise Westland Citrus feed as it boosts fruit set.
Citrus plants do not need a lot of attention when it comes to pruning. If the plant has overcrowded branches, thin these out in February. Throughout the growing season, cut back the tallest branches to encourage bushy growth.